New support service for carers in West Sussex

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A countywide support service for carers in West Sussex is set to be formally launched next week to mark Carers’ Week, which runs from Monday June 10 to Friday June 16.

Carers Support West Sussex, which is funded by West Sussex County Council, will provide support and information for carers across the county and promote the start of a new West Sussex ‘Carer Network’ for carers to have their voice heard.

The new combined service started in April and will coordinate local carers services within one charity. Services will be promoted at community events arranged by partner organisations across the county during Carers Week.

A celebration launch also comes during the annual Carers Week, which highlights the vital role of carers.

The national week, promoted by charities including Carers Trust and Carers UK is designed to raise the profile of carers, raise awareness of their needs, identify hidden carers and celebrate the contribution that carers make.

The theme this year is ‘Prepared to Care?’ and will focus on how carers are coping and how they are supported and prepared to care for the future. Carers are people who help a relative, child, partner or friend who is either frail, has a mental and/or physical illness, is disabled, or affected by substance misuse.

Jennie Musgrove, chief executive of Carers Support West Sussex, said: “Through this new countywide service we will be working with GPs and clinicians through their new Clinical Commissioning Groups to provide better support for carers.

“The main priority now is ensuring all carers known to our GP practices and hospitals are offered our support and ensuring that every GP asks each and every patient if there is a carer involved.”

Peter Catchpole (Con, Holbrook), WSCC cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “Carers perform a vital role and Carers Week is a chance to show them some well-deserved recognition.

“In West Sussex the most recent figures estimate there are 84,000 unpaid carers, saving West Sussex an estimated £1 billion a year.

“This national week highlights the importance of ensuring that carers are supported to maintain a life of their own was well as delivering the vital care and support to their loved ones.”

Minesh Patel, vice chair of the West Sussex Health and Wellbeing Board and lead GP for NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: ”I am very keen that we work hard to ingrain a ‘think carer’ mind-set with all professionals so that no conversation takes place with a patient without enquiring if there are carers involved, including young carers. The CCG is working hard to introduce this ethos with all our local commissioners of health and social care services.”